December 2022 – A Unique Recruiting Opportunity That Can’t Be Missed (The right time in recruiting makes all the difference)

Don’t relax, because recruiting this December provides quality candidates and record-low competition. Yes, recruiting “at the right time” is a seldom-used strategic advantage among recruiting leaders. For example, most recruiters and hiring managers routinely “take the end-of-the-year holidays off.”

First because they are exhausted. But also because they mistakenly assume that few candidates are job searching during the holidays. Note that this assumption is a costly strategic mistake almost every December. But it is an especially damaging one in the unique December of 2022. When the available talent is extra high and the recruiting competition will be especially low.

Why The Recruiting Competition Is Already Extremely Low

With layoffs, job security issues, and inflation dominating the news. It’s only natural that a larger than usual number of employed, longer-term unemployed and recently laid-off candidates are now considering new job opportunities. But most recruiting leaders are unaware (and they have not measured it) that the recruiting competition for those record levels of talent will also be at a record low during the holidays. The reasons for that low recruiting competition include:

  • Hiring freezes are reducing your recruiting competition – well-known rapid growth firms like Meta, Amazon, and Twitter are now using a recruiting term that has rarely been used during the last decade. And that is “over-hiring.” And as a result of this surplus hiring, many firms are being forced to institute hiring freezes. And those partial and complete freezes mean that these companies are doing almost no hiring for the next few months. Leaving the recruiting field to, in some cases, only a handful of proactive firms.
  • Recruiter layoffs are reducing your hiring competition – after experiencing a long spurt of over-hiring, many companies are now placing hiring freezes and projecting a continuing business downturn. As a result, their headcount projections for January and beyond have been significantly cut. And with this toxic combination of hiring freezes and lower future headcount, there will be a much lower need for recruiters. For example, the continuously growing giant that is Amazon has already instituted a hiring freeze. And more alarmingly, they added shockingly widespread recruiter buyouts. And I predict that forced recruiter layoffs are just around the corner there for Amazon and other major firms (learn more about this growing recruiter layoff trend here). And as a result of all of these recruiter reductions, the number of recruiters seeking top candidates will be measurably lower.
  • The recruiters at your talent competitors are literally exhausted, limiting your competition – because talent availability has been a serious problem throughout 2022. Recruiters everywhere have had to fight to fill every position. So, as a result, almost everyone in your competitor’s recruiting function is exhausted, frustrated, and literally out of energy. That means that even when your competitor’s recruiters are actively hiring, the energy level of their team will be well-below average. If you counter them with a recruiting team that is energized by the thought of this unique opportunity to trounce them. Your recruiting team will have an additional competitive advantage.

Expect An Exceptional Volume Of Quality Candidates In December 2022

Many are surprised to learn that every December, there is a surplus of available candidates. However, this December 2022, both the volume and quality will be exceptionally high. The top seven reasons for that increased volume of candidates include: 

  1. High-volume layoffs have increased the search pool – those that have been laid off from giants like Twitter and Meta have suddenly been thrown into the job market. And although with severance pay, many can hold off on job search for a while. Many will still test the job market this month.
  2. The fear of layoffs will drive many into job search mode – even employees at growth giant Alphabet/Google are beginning to fear that they might be next. So many of these never-before-available prospects at top firms will be actively looking because of their fear of a pending recession. 
  3. Inflation is driving even the employed to seek jobs that pay more money – the recent inflation trend has forced many fully employed secure employees to seek opportunities that will pay them more. This will be especially true of candidates that are seeking to buy a new house under the doubling of mortgage interest rates.
  4. Inflation will bring some retirees back – this same high inflation will cause many who chose to retire during Covid. To reconsider whether that decision should be permanent. So these retirees are already beginning to test the job market.
  5. Being forced to return to the office will force some onto the job market – with an increased emphasis on physically showing up for work (Apple and Google are great examples). Many quality employees that have been (or fear being forced back) into the office will begin actively looking.
  6. Record turnover adds to the high volume of available quality talent – unfortunately, employee turnover has been at a record high for a while. And many high-quality candidates are still considering quitting (44% of Americans expect to search for a new job over the next few months). If this willingness-to-quit trend continues, the volume of available quality candidates will continue to increase.
  7. Lessened Covid fears will allow many to reenter the job market – with Covid fears shrinking around the world. Expect many that stayed unemployed just to avoid Covid to begin returning to the workforce.

Reasons Why Every December Provides A Competitive Recruiting Advantage

December every year is the optimum recruiting month because the talent supply is high and the competition is low. So, if you time it correctly, “the little guy” can almost always beat the top firms at recruiting during December. Those repeating reasons to make December every year a recruiting advantage include:

  • Every December, there’s a positive ratio between openings and applicants – even with the traditional December slowdown in job postings. Recruiters must realize that traditionally the number of available job seekers does not decrease significantly from the monthly average. This means that routinely there is ample supply and lower competition for the available talent every December. 
  • Many firms literally do not hire during December – some firms (especially tech firms) completely shut down operations during the last 2 weeks of the year. While many other organizations place a complete hiring freeze during December because they have exhausted their headcount until January. While other major companies like Google, Meta, and HP simply stop recruiting because their hiring managers independently choose not to be available during the holidays. 
  • End-of-the-year thinking forces many employees to rethink their future – this rethinking happens at the end of every year. And as part of that reassessment, the best prospects are invariably rethinking whether they want to spend another year in their current job, company, or industry. 
  • A low December workload makes recruiting targets easier to contact – because of exhaustion, holiday events, and the year-end push to use up vacation time. Often almost no important work is being done. And with a low workload, individuals have more time to answer recruiter inquiries and for a job search. 
  • Almost everyone is active on social media at year’s end – almost everyone is highly active on social media around the holidays. And that means that your employees will also have an improved chance of seeing, reading, and even responding to your recruiting messages. 
  • If you recruit globally, realize that not everyone celebrates the December holidays – you should take a step back and remind yourself that Christmas is primarily a Western and Christian holiday. So if you recruit globally, take advantage of the fact that many global prospects will be available for job search during December because they are not distracted by Christmas activities. 
If you only do one thing – post a few of your hard-to-fill jobs in early December. And then compare the quality and the volume of the applicants that you get. Compared to another month like August. And if you find an increase in quality applicants and a decrease in competition for those candidates. Develop a proactive plan for recruiting during the rest of the month.

Final Thoughts

Everyone realizes that it has been a difficult year in recruiting. So why not end it with a smashing recruiting month? Begin by realizing that recruiting is a head-to-head competition. So unless you have an employer brand like Google. Convince your hiring managers to purposely focus their recruiting volume during months when the candidate volume is high and the recruiting competition is low. 

And because this December will be one of those rare, extraordinary recruiting opportunities. I recommend that you take advantage of this chance to WOW your executives by producing some amazing year-end recruiting results.

Author’s Note 

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About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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